Archive | February, 2012

Thoughts on Twitter for a Monday Afternoon

13 Feb

I confess, I’m not accomplishing what I need to today. My natural circadian rhythm is that of a night owl. I’m always up past midnight, frequently much later. The problem is that I’m required by my needy dogs and the lives of my kids to live the schedule of a morning person. This equals a pretty regular lack of sleep. ┬áLast night, I didn’t get to bed until 2:00 a.m. Needy dogs insisted I get up at 5:00 a.m. to feed them Scooby snacks and let the arthritic basset in and out for her morning constitutional, since the cold and the dog door don’t mix well for her.

So, staying focused today is a bit of a challenge. It is in this state of mind that I question the value of Twitter.

I’ve been using Twitter for a few weeks…attempting to figure it out and use it well, I should say. Practicing the etiquette of retweeting for folks in the hopes that some may reciprocate as needed. Learning the art of brevity to cover both my message and the desired hashtags. As I’ve gained more followers, and followed more people myself, I wonder if this isn’t just an exercise in futility.

There is a constant barrage of tweets coming in, which grows exponentially as I follow more people. How does one keep up? I pop in a couple times a day to see what’s happening, and there are just so many messages. I respond to ones that catch my eye, or retweet here or there without bombarding my own followers with too many RTs. Then I dash off one of my own.

Perhaps it is the lack of sleep making me grumpy, but I can’t help but think Twitter is mostly an exercise in tossing one’s own thoughts into the ether and hoping someone pays attention. At least with Facebook, there’s a reasonable expectation that SOMEONE will respond, even if it’s just clicking the Like button. Then you know you’ve been heard.

I don’t know if I’ll keep the Twitter account. I’ll try downloading Hootsuite, which I’ve heard is more helpful than TweetDeck for managing this social tool, and see if that helps. But I have enough things clawing at me for time and attention. Does Twitter deserve a piece of the time-pie? Do you use Twitter? If so, how do you manage it?

It’s Here!! Thoughts on Diving into Publishing

11 Feb

I should have posted this yesterday, but it was such a whirlwind, I never had time to blog. Mending Fences, my first novel, is now on sale! YAY! It actually went live on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords yesterday. (Click on the Books tab above for links to the book on each seller.)

Going live was cool. I can see my book for sale! Even cooler? A couple of friends bought the book! Even cooler than that…STRANGERS BOUGHT IT. Oh, yeah. That was my favorite part of all, knowing that people who have no clue who I am saw the cover, read the blurb, and bought my book. If that isn’t squee-worthy, I don’t know what is.

A couple of things I’ve discovered in this huge learning curve of publishing books. A) You can’t use the same source file for every seller. I mean, you can, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Why? Because every conversion requires different settings in the source file to look good in the final format. The biggest one for me is Page Breaks vs. Section Breaks. For the Smashwords and Kindle conversions, Section Breaks from a Word document are evil. They make extra spaces and pages that don’t belong in your final conversion. But for nook conversions? Thou shalt remove the Page Breaks and replace them with Section Breaks in order to have a proper page change at the start of each chapter. Oy.

This is why so many authors pay people to do their conversions. But I have to do it myself. I’m a bit of a control freak that way, I guess.

B) That there is an enormous amount of work to do with creating an author presence. Facebook, blog, twitter, obviously. Then there’s making author pages on Amazon and Smashwords…hmm, haven’t even checked B&N yet. I had a friend ask if it wouldn’t be easier to have a big publisher, because then ‘someone would do all that for you, right?’ Um…no, LOL. I’d still be doing all of my own publicity stuff with the Big 6.

Yes, it’s a lot of work. But I really enjoy it. Plus, you know, control freak. I’d end up doing it myself no matter how I published.

Almost there

8 Feb

I’m knee-deep in converting Mending Fences into the proper formats for uploading to various sellers. It’s a bit of a learning curve, but I’ve never been one to sit back and let others do for me what I can surely learn to do myself. Which has occasionally led to very long projects, like rebuilding the broken sprinkling system when we moved into our house.

Don’t get me wrong, there are certain things I do not attempt. I don’t do major car repairs. That’s best left to the experts, and we have a fantastic couple of shops we’ve used for years. And I don’t do stuff with electricity. Well…I change light fixtures and plugs. I know how to make sure the power is completely off where I’m working, and I test it to be sure. But aside from those two things, experts are required. I can play with the plumbing all I want, but not the power. Because if you mess up the plumbing, you get a watery disaster that can simply be cleaned. If you mess up the electricity, it can kill you.

So, from that tangent back to where I’m at. Almost there. The book will be live this Friday, February 10. I’m also doing a Createspace edition for anyone who prefers a paperback to an e-book, but that will take another week or two.

Oh, and I’m almost 10k words into the next book. See that gray challenge icon to the right? Yep, supposed to hit 60k by the end of the month. I’m thinking the next time I take on a challenge like that, I shouldn’t be trying to launch a book at the same time. Once it’s up, I’ll dive in fully to the WIP. The goal is to launch that one by May 1. Yes, it’s ambitious. Wish me luck!